Downpour turns to outpour of support for The Bridge Hospice

WARKWORTH – Heavy rain, high creek waters and flooded trails could not deter people or ducks from supporting The Bridge Hospice at Saturday’s Spring Walk & Rubber Duck Race.

Thanks to pledge donors, participants and sponsors, the event raised an astounding $17,000.

About 100 hearty souls of all ages turned out, including individuals and fundraising teams from businesses, healthcare groups, service clubs, sponsors, volunteers, and families of past residents at the hospice.

When creek levels forced the cancellation of the duck race, organizers improvised a flying duck contest inside the Warkworth Arena, involving a parachute and a lot of help from participants to shake out the top two prize-winning ducks.

Marshalled by the Warkworth Community Service Club, walkers then took a tour of Warkworth village streets, in lieu of the soggy Millennium Trail.

Kathleen Powe, chair of the Walk organizing committee, was overwhelmed by the turnout despite the challenging conditions. “I’m so touched by all these people, and grateful for everyone’s support, including our lead sponsor Closing the Gap, plus Trent Hills Pharmacy and IDA MacLarens. Everyone made it a fun day and showed how much they value The Bridge Hospice. I’m really moved by this remarkable caring community.”

The Bridge Hospice is a three-bed residential hospice providing end-of-life care at no cost to families. Located in Warkworth, the hospice serves the people of Northumberland County and greater region, offering professional and compassionate care 24/7 while supporting loved ones. The Bridge Hospice relies on donations to cover day-to-day operating costs.

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Young girl’s Christmas tree brings beauty and comfort to the hospice

A remarkably thoughtful young girl brought the spirit of Christmas to The Bridge Hospice for the second year in a row.

In 2015, then 7-year-old Robyn McLaughlin donated a Christmas tree she had won at the Festival of Trees. Not only did she and her mother Cheryl deliver the tree to the hospice, they set it up in the living-room, trimming it with beautiful decorations and lights they brought themselves.

In early December, Robyn returned with another perfect tree. Cheryl explained why Christmas is so important to her daughter.

A few days before I gave birth to Robyn, my grandmother – Robyn’s great-grandmother – passed away on Christmas Eve. They just missed each other, as it were.

Robyn and I had talked about sadness and mourning someone, and how you can try to make something good come from those feelings. So she set her mind on helping people with a broken heart at Christmastime. Her idea was to donate a tree to The Bridge Hospice, so that families going through a hard time could find some comfort in the spirit and beauty of the season.

Indeed everyone at the hospice – families, visitors, volunteers and staff – were touched by the tree’s exquisite beauty, and even more by the thoughtfulness that brought it to us.

Thank you to Robyn and Cheryl!

Kerri-Anne Wilson hired as Director of Clinical Services and Operations

Kerri-Anne Wilson

Jill Hutcheon, Chair of The Bridge Hospice, has announced that Kerri-Anne Wilson is the new Director of Clinical Services and Operations effective September 6.

“The Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome Kerri-Anne. We look forward to her leadership and expertise, which will build on the existing excellence in care and compassion that The Bridge Hospice provides,” said Hutcheon.

As Director, Kerri-Anne will provide professional and practice leadership, ensuring safe, effective and caring quality of service, coordinating admissions and care delivery by Saint Elizabeth staff and hospice volunteers, and managing operations.

Kerri-Anne is a Registered Nurse with extensive experience in public health, providing leadership in a variety of health care positions. Most recently, she was Director of Primary Health Care at the Gateway Community Health Centre in Tweed. Kerri-Anne has also been involved with the Palliative Care/End of Life working group for the Rural Hastings Health Link focused on techniques to enhance the provision of quality palliative and end-of-life care within that region. As well, she participated in the South East Local Health Integration Network on advance care planning.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Kerri-Anne, who was among the first resident care volunteers when The Bridge Hospice opened in June 2013.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to be back at The Bridge Hospice, to once again work alongside this exceptional team of volunteers and providers. It truly is a privilege to be able to give back to the community that I call home.

“We have all witnessed how a small group of dedicated, passionate individuals inspired an entire community to come together in support of those who are nearing the end of their life’s journey. I look forward to leading the team in continuing to provide exceptional, quality care and support to our residents, families and friends – giving them the opportunity to live every moment to the end of life, in a warm, supportive home environment.”

Golfers, sponsors, venue & weather line up for a solid hit

Golfers, generous sponsors and Oakland Greens Golf & Country Club pumped up the fun in fundraising at The Bridge Hospice 2016 Charity Golf Tournament on July 16.

Blessed with perfect weather, a record number of foursomes in the best ball event were challenged on the fairways and greens. Golfers vied for prizes with skill-testing contests that produced more jokes than finesse. Pro golfer Dan Heffernan was shown no mercy in Beat the Pro.

The only contest without a winner was the coveted Hole-in-One, which offered a Chrysler 200 courtesy J.J. Stewart Motors.

Opportunities to win superb prizes didn’t end with the final putt. The lively crowd moved indoors for roast beef and a sizable silent auction and raffle draws. Dr. Kent Tisher emceed and expertly tickled the ivories as tired guests departed.

Now in its seventh year, the tournament is a vital fundraiser for The Bridge Hospice. The new venue at Oakland Greens welcomed longstanding participants and attracted new ones from club ranks. Tournament organizers were thrilled with the community-minded club’s support throughout.

Michelle Simson, co-chair of the organizing committee, notes that 2016 is a year of firsts: most hole sponsors, highest value of prizes donated, first time at Oakland Greens, and many new faces.

“Our tournament reflects the growing recognition of the role played by The Bridge Hospice. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to reach out and connect to the communities it serves. We are very grateful for all the support.”

Located in Warkworth, The Bridge Hospice serves Northumberland County and region, providing a home where practical care, guidance and compassion are provided for those dying, and those who support them. The hospice does not charge a fee for its service.

Overall Team Winners

Judy Kaufmann, who co-chaired the tournament with Michelle Simson, congratulated the Overall Team Winners.

2016 Winning Men's Team
Men’s – Thanks to the Heffernan clan for the huge turnout! From left: Greg Holt, Clayton Heffernan, Judy, Brian Gratton, Cam Heffernan

Women’s – Saint Elizabeth Healthcare’s outstanding PSWs took top honours. From left: Judy, Fiona Chapman, Jennifer Finlay, Melinda McLaughlin. Absent: Leona Robertson

Mixed – Two twosomes made for the winning combination. From left: Hugh Crook, Beth Crook. Absent: Delayne Donald, Jeff Buchanan

Annual General Meeting, June 9, 2016

AGM Attachments:

Occupancy soars as The Bridge Hospice shows ingenuity and foresight in provision of rural residential hospice service

WARKWORTH – At its annual general meeting on June 9, The Bridge Hospice board of directors, membership, staff and volunteers gathered to reflect on a dynamic year of growth, change, and strategic planning.

Jill Hutcheon, board chair, opened her remarks with an update on the innovative agreement with Saint Elizabeth Community Enterprise that launched in September 2015. Thanks to the five-year partnership, healthcare professionals are at the hospice at all times, assisted by hospice volunteers. The transition to the new care model was described as smooth, with healthcare staff and volunteers working together to provide outstanding care and comfort to residents and their families.

The presence of healthcare professionals 24/7 has allowed the three-bed hospice to operate at full capacity for the first time. As a result, occupancy rates have more than doubled since September. By the end of the fiscal year, The Bridge Hospice had cared for 65 residents and their families since opening in June 2013.

Significant growth and rising operational costs at the hospice catalyzed the board to review its business model and develop a comprehensive strategic plan to ensure the hospice’s long-term sustainability. While the plan is still being finalized, Ms. Hutcheon identified priority areas, including a new funding strategy and outreach with key agencies and organizations.

Beyond overseeing day-to-day activities, the board engaged in important discussions about palliative care at local, regional, and provincial levels. Ms. Hutcheon and directors gave voice at every opportunity to the unique role and perspective of small hospices and the realities of life away from large cities, so that rural needs will be accommodated in policies and plans for end-of-life care.

Ms. Hutcheon reserved special praise for volunteers, citing their commitment, passion and excellence – in resident care, leadership, event organization, residence upkeep and finance. She called upon the people of Northumberland County to continue to actively engage with all opportunities to ensure the sustainability of the hospice and the continuation of its critical role in serving needs in this area.

“We depend on volunteers stepping up and giving us their advice and their time so we can all be proud of this community-based residence.

“You have our word that we will work hard, as a board, to ensure this service is sustainable, but we also need your continuing help to get there. Please, join us in the next chapter of development and work with us to ensure sustainability for the future,” she said.